Capital : Luanda
Cabinda, Cuando-Cubango, Namibe
Size: 481 000 sq m Popn: 10 609 000
The coast of this large, thinly-populated area was reached by Portuguese explorers in the late C15th when the colony of Luanda was founded.
During the C19th and early C20th Portugal conquered and settled Angola and 'pacification' came in 1922 after years of fighting. Rich mineral deposits and agricultural produce encouraged many settlers after WWII (about 330 000 by independence) but Salazar's repressive dictatorship encouraged nationalism. Angola became an Overseas Territory of Portugal in 1951 and in 1956 the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) was formed under Agostinho Neto. It welcomed all races including whites and Mestiços (mixed African and European) but the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), formed in 1962, was tribally based. In 1964 Southerners left in protest at Northern domination, forming the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in 1966. MPLA had support from socialist states, FNLA from the 'non-left' powers of southern Africa and UNITA from the West. Nationalist uprisings led to many deaths in the 1960s and control of large parts of Angola was gained.
In 1974, the Salazar regime fell and the new leaders negotiated the Alvor Agreement scheduling independence for late 1975. The transitional government of MPLA, FNLA and UNITA was disrupted by internal feuds and foreign interference with all three groups proclaiming governments. The MPLA triumphed with Cuban support but the FNLA and UNITA proclaimed an alternative state, the People's Democratic Republic of Angola, based in Huambo. War with UNITA rebels and South African invaders disrupted the economy and several MPLA leaders were killed in the 1977 coup but President Neto remained in power, sacking his Prime minister, Lopo do Nascimento, in 1978 in a bid to remove dissidents. Neto died in 1978 and José Eduardo dos Santos took over but fighting continued.
UNITA guerrillas with South African backing continued to fight and in 1980-1, combined forces attacked the Angolan bases of the South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) which was trying to liberate Namibia. In 1983, South African proposed a withdrawal of its forces if Angola guaranteed that they would not be replaced by Cuban or SWAPO troops. This was agreed to in the Lusaka Agreement of 1984 and South Africa completed its withdrawal in 1985 but relations deteriorated and there were further raids in 1986. Despite a peace treaty between South Africa and Cuba, UNITA rebelled again under Jonas Savimbi in 1989 but eventually signed a new treaty in 1991.
President dos Santos proclaimed an amnesty for political prisoners in July 1991 and a general election was held in September 1992. It was won by the MPLA but UNITA disputed the result, resuming the civil war in October and gaining control of about half the country.
Ethnic groups consist of Ovimbundu, Mbundu, Kongo, Lunda-Chokwe and Nganguela. They speak Portuguese, (as an official language) Kilongo, Umbundu, Kimbundu and Kioko and follow Christianity and traditional religions. The coastal area of Cabinda is part of the Angolan state although it is separated from it by Zairean territory. It has rich oil deposits which help the Angolan economy but Angolan rule has also been opposed by the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda since 1974.
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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